more theological conversations

July 27, 2007

I don’t wanna say a lot about what was said in yesterday’s presentation/conversation, it happened, and what the effect will be we will have to see, but some students are quite negative about the whole exercise.

I guess my own negative feelings aren’t primarily about the viewpoints raised as such, but more about the way in which the whole conversation was polarized into two extremes again. On the one hand you have those arguing for some kind of demon-hunt, or chasing demon’s out of people (I’ve always wondered where they would be if they would be inside me, but then again, how would I know). On the other hand you have those consider the concept of a devil to be internalized evil. And that is it. Quick reference was made in the agenda of the synod to some middle ground views, and quick reference was made in the presentation on yesterday, but generally it’s an argument between the extremes.

I guess I have two dreams for the way in which upcoming theologians will practice theology, and I believe there is potential for these dreams to come true.
First, that we would be able to navigate these extreme poles in arguments, and find new ways of formulating our faith. Not simply middle ground, but that these would be a totally different way in which we can talk theology, which will help us overcome these classic differences between extremes.
Second, and I believe this is important, that we would realize that sometimes we need to take in extreme viewpoints. The gospel isn’t simply a set of watered down ideas which has as purpose to keep everyone happy. But when we do have some extreme viewpoints, that we won’t need to make the other viewpoint look stupid simply to make our point (something which I experienced from both sides yesterday).

Henk Gouws said something at the synod which I will always (hopefully) remember: When we differ from each other about how we read the Bible, we are differing from the inside (all of us are part of this community of faith). We are differing as people who believe, and are searching for the will of God.
Tony Jones wrote something a while ago which also really made an impact on my thoughts. When he described orthodoxy as an event, something which happen between people, he opened up this community as wide as possible. Everyone from Benny Hinn to the Pope take part in forming this orthodoxy.

a previous post on theological conversations

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